CinePunked’s Robert and Neil take a trip to Free City to explore the themes of free will and social revolution that lie hidden in the code of Ryan Reynolds vehicle Free Guy.
Sleeve notes are below.
With Robert JE Simpson and Neil Sedgewick.
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Episode URL: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=956288
So a few weeks back, when we were recording out podcast on The Matrix, we promised that we would go off and have a look at Free Guy, a Ryan Reynolds film about a bank teller who discovers he is a Non-Playable Character in a computer game. Why did we say we’d do this? Well, because it hit cinemas a few months before The Matrix Resurrections and it felt like there was something in the two films being released so close, both dealing with the line between the real world and a gaming world.
Unfortunately Ben, the gamer of our group, has been indisposed with other commitments, so its just Neil and myself, and you lovely folk at home, exploring this one. And what an exploration it was…
Its constantly tempting with the podcast to stick only to film classics, and try and tease something new out of films we all know so well. But film is a constantly evolving medium, and exploring the latest Disney picture is just as important as some obscure silent film from the 1910s. I like the idea that someone might be watching these films for the first time, and is making brand new connections by watching Free Guy just after The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Because there is a link, and all six episodes of the current season flow into each other.
It would be easy to cynically dismiss Free Guy as just another Disney indulgence, but as our conversation plays out, its clear that there are other messages hidden within the coding of the film. Explorations of free will, of knowledge, of social rebellion and manipulation. I believe there is a line can drawn direct from Metropolis‘s Maria to Guy, and that wasn’t something I had anticipated.
We’ll probably be doing a fair few more of our episodes as two-person conversations for logistical reasons currently. I’d be interested to know how you folk find them. The ethos of exploration of ideas through conversation remains.
Free Guy is available to buy on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD from Walt Disney, and is available to buy/rent across multiple streaming services. It is included as part of a Disney+ subscription.
The episode includes clips used under fair use/fair dealing legislation for the purposes of education and criticism from:
Free Guy. Directed by Shaun Levy. 20th Century Studios, 2021.
Free Guy: NPCs Assemble teaser trailer. 20th Century Studios, 2021.
The CinePunked theme music is ‘Riding the Synth‘ – © 2020, Ben Blademan Simpson. Used with permission.
Episode recorded via Zoom in Dundonald and Newtownards, Northern Ireland on 5 February 2022.
Engineered and edited by Robert JE Simpson. Audio podcast first published on 9 February 2022.